Welcome to J Sprightly – the home of agile performance coaching

Welcome to J Sprightly the home of Agile Performance Coaching where we use Agile mindsets, practices and common tools along with coaching techniques from business, sports and other areas of performance coaching. Due to this mix of styles and patterns the our coaching approach is different from other coaching approaches that you may have seen however we have proven results from what we do and continue to improve our techniques and methods as we work with more and more people in different circumstances.

What is Agile?

Agile is a way of working that involves close, open cooperation between developer and customer where improvements are made in small iterations which review progress against a target. In agile performance coaching the developer is the coach or coaching team and the customer is the client or team. As you can see from this very short description the attitude and structure of Agile and performance coaching is very similar and so can easily be used in a professional, personal, individual, team, or even organisational level.

The history Agile that we have collated over the years can be found on our History of Agile page.

What is Performance?

Performance is a measure of output created by work against a defined measurement. When we do coaching our sole aim is to improve performance. The fundamental reason for calling this out is coaching is all about performance improvement so setting a baseline and putting together a structured plan is crucial. Performance improvements can be created in different ways but the focus is on improving a property that can be measured before and after by the coachee and the coachee’s organization. There are other professions, practices and techniques that can improve individuals from below par starting point. These include counselling, therapy, and from a formal medical background psychiatry. All of these approaches are predicated on improving performance (generally mental/emotional) to what could be described as a normal state rather than working to improve a normal state. This is a key difference between coaching and the other approaches.

The history Performance is a little tricky as it covers many areas but we have had a that we have collated over the years can be found on our History of Performance page.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a way to improve performance through understanding current performance, reflecting on how this can be improved, and then supporting a pattern of logical, physical, and emotional activities to improve the original base measurement. The origin of the term coach means to “carry for” starting with goods in wagons or carriages (1550s) then expanding to carrying or supporting people first by Oxford University tutors helping (carrying) a student through exams (1830s) then in physical athletic coaching (1861) through a technical coach. (ref: The Origins of the word Coach, Wikipedia: Coaching). More recently the approaches of coaching in sports and psychology have been applied in a professional non-sporting areas commonly called Business coaching. Whatever the root or definition of coaching the key is to help someone else’s performance through structured programs that the coachee is the owner of the outcome of performance increase. As we have already said coaching is different from counselling, therapy and psychiatry where the individual needs mental health to return their performance to a normal level normally due to a unpleasant experience in the past. If this is the case do look for a professional, accredited mental health professional for support.

The history coaching is fascinating as it has evolved from sports into business as a way of improving personal human performance. Checkout our research on coaching on our History of Coaching page.

In general there are two schools of coaching: 1) Sports Coaching: improving physical and mental performance through movement and thinking whilst training or execute an physical activity e.g., sports, physio etc. 2) Mental or mindset coaching: improving awareness of future positions that would generate higher performance e.g., business, forms of personal and life coaching.

One of the biggest difference between these two forms of coaching is the relationship between coach and coachee. In Sports Coaching the coach is an expert in the field in which they are coaching; the relationship is one that is focussed on getting the coachee to improve specifically in an event (game, tournament). The fundamentals of Sports coaching are based in physiology, biology, and at higher levels pyschology. The coach is normally one that has taken part in the sport at a relatively high level.

In Mental coaching the coach has specialist knowledge in personal improvement based in psychology where the coachee has the options and answers within them but doesn’t have the awareness or time to work through them. The coach doesn’t need to know about the context of the problem or have specialist knowledge of the area to support the coachee work towards higher performance. The relationship is normally based on a set number of sessions after which the coachee is judge on performance increase. This take on mental or business coaching is general. There are arguments that say an experienced coach in an area can be very helpful as the coachee doesn’t know all the options. However the counter position is the experience way hinder the coachee find their own way. Either way it’s not field specific and is over a set number of sessions.

J Sprightly Approach – Total System Coaching: SELPh model

The two forms of coaching (Sport, Mental) have great benefits for individuals who want to get better. The two types tend to not mix due to the difference between the physical and mental training approaches especially on the mental side where physical training is rare.

Over the last 20 year Sports coaching has taken on more mental, psychological methods as sports have become more professional and wins worth more money. Most professional sports people and team have specialist mental coaches that compliment the physical coaches and team management.

Mental or business coaching is relatively young. The foundations can be traced back Sigmund Freud and his creation of pyscho analysis at the turn of the last century (1900s) and from there humanistic or behaviouristic based approaches (1950s) that set the core principals of mental/business coaching (as the field of psychology matured the medical psychiatric field had to be better separated out to give better clarity between mental pathology and human behaviour studies). We have more on the history of coaching.

Here are J Sprightly our approach brings these two forms of coaching together based on the physical and psychological sciences (we appreciate psychology is a human science). These two forms of coaching we classify as physical and emotional. We add a third system called Logical to separate out mental into two systems: 1) Emotional – feelings, 2) Logical – data processing. All three systems (emotional, logical, physical) are super biological systems that are intricately connected through the eleven biological systems that make up a person and that person’s identity or notion self (some say soul, personality, being, consciousness).

Self is the centre of J Sprightly’s coaching model. Surrounding and supporting the central Self are the three super biological systems: emotional (core brain, heart, gut), logical (higher brain), physical (all organs expect brain and circulatory and movement tissue). This makes up SELPh model, pronounced ‘Self’, (we make this a little catchy we also use the h from physical). Using this SELPh model we created a performance improvement framework (PIF) called PARKLIFE that gives individuals a map to improve and from the PIF a performance improvement plan (PIP) which we coach through. In summary our approach: SELPh model -> PARKLIFE framework -> PIP -> Coaching sessions.

The sessions are structured into 5 phases

  1. Understanding coaching – how coaching can help improve performance (motivation, learning, ownership)
  2. Understanding people – what drives people (individuals and teams) to improvement (Core values, principles, behaviour, environment)
  3. Defining ambition – seeing executive purpose, setting a destination (role modelling, imposter play, fall forward)
  4. Shaping goals – working through path of short term goals
  5. Reality, Reflection, Reset – reviewing and setting new goals

The breakdown of performance into five steps are explained further across this site.

Trusted Tension – Our Blog

We spend a lot of time looking at performance improvement. The stuff that we find that we think is worth sharing a comment we put on our blog.